Published July 19, 2013
A Swedish engineer has developed a machine that can turn people’s sweat into drinking water, according to BBC News.
The device was developed to promote a UNICEF campaign drawing attention to the fact that 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water.
Designed by engineer Andreas Hammar, the technology uses a technique called membrane distillation to spin and heat sweat-soaked clothing, removing the sweat, and then passing it through a membrane that filters out everything except water molecules, BBC News reported. The developers claim that the resulting product is cleaner than local tap water.
"They have something similar on the (International) Space Station to treat astronaut's urine - but our machine was cheaper to build,” Hammar told BBC News. “The amount of water it produces depends on how sweaty the person is - but one person's T-shirt typically produces 10ml (0.3oz), roughly a mouthful."
The machine is on display in Gothenburg, Sweden, at the Gothia Cup, a youth football tournament. So far, the machine’s creators claim more than 1,000 people have sampled the water produced by the machine.
The device, which was produced primarily as a stunt to draw attention to UNICEF’s cause, has limitations and would be difficult to produce for mass market.
“There are better solutions out there such as water purifying pills," Hammar said.